Originally Posted by Essential1
Pau should not have won MVP in either of them. Stop it.
Before you bring up Game 7, Pau started the Game 4/13. Kobe led the game in 4th quarter points, and pulled 14 boards.Win or lose, Kobe Finals MVP?
PER Diem: June 14, 2010
By John Hollinger
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
BOSTON -- In an odd Finals filled with statistical oddities and in which each game has borne virtually no resemblance to its predecessor, it's perhaps fitting that through five games we're left with another unusual situation: There is no clear-cut choice for series MVP. In fact, if Boston were to close things out with a win in Game 6 on Tuesday, as many as four Celtics could garner serious consideration.
Of course, the MVP doesn't have to come from the winning team. While this isn't the letter of the rule it's been an unwritten law for the past four decades -- every Finals MVP since 1969 has come from the winning team. Alas, every rule has its exception, and after Sunday night's 38-point effort we may be looking at one in the form of Kobe Bryant.
While the Celtics deserve their 3-2 lead in the series, there's no question who the best player has been over these first five games. That point was driven home with a sledgehammer in Game 5 when Bryant scored 19 points in the third quarter only to find the Celtics' lead had increased when he was done.
This continued a Finals in which Bryant has had at least 20 points in every game, has had only one game that possibly could be construed as somewhere close to ordinary (Game 2), and has had a pair (Games 1 and 5) in which he was absolutely spectacular.
For the series, Bryant is averaging 30.2 points per game; no other player is averaging more than 19. He's done it reasonably efficiently too, with a 55.2 true shooting percentage in a series in which the average has been 53.4. That's amazing considering the difficulty of the attempts he's taken, especially in Game 5.
Bryant has filled the stat sheet in various and sundry other ways, too. Bryant leads all Finals players in steals, is second in assists and has yanked down six rebounds a game. About the only quibble one could make is that he's been a bit turnover-prone; of course, he's playing against the league's top turnover-forcing defense, so this shouldn't come as a huge shock.
And while the league doesn't award extra points for degree of difficulty, part of the reason Bryant has been forced into such challenging attempts is how little help he's received from the cavalry. Again, this point was hammered into our consciousness in the second half of Game 5 -- Pau Gasol was the only Lakers starter to score a basket after halftime, and the Spaniard's play was positively repulsive throughout (among his other assorted flubs, did anyone else catch him standing in the paint watching as Nate Robinson flew by for an easy fourth-quarter layup?).
If you're not sold on Bryant's MVP case yet, then consider the alternative. If not Kobe, who?
The fact is Bryant has been by far the most productive player, and the only reason the Celtics are ahead is because five of the next six best players (the four above and supersub Glen Davis) have been wearing green. If series MVP voters are using their heads and not their hearts, Bryant is an obvious pick even with his team trailing.
There's an irony here, of course. I mentioned above that only one player has won Finals MVP in a losing effort; it was Bryant's idol and mentor, former Lakers star Jerry West. Wait, there's more. It came in the 1969 Finals … against the Celtics … against a veteran Boston team, in fact, that had won only 48 games and was seeded just fourth in the Eastern Conference at the start of the playoffs. L.A. ended up losing Game 7 at home despite 42 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists from West.
A lot of water still has to go under the bridge for Kobe to join West, but suffice it to say that if Kobe goes for 42, 13 and 12 in a losing effort in the finale the award is probably his regardless of what anyone on the Celtics does.
Of course, Kobe would only join West if the Lakers did, in fact, lose the series. He could also go down in history more happily if the Lakers win the final two games. At this point I'd say it's a foregone conclusion that he'll win the award if that happens, with Gasol having essentially eliminated himself from further consideration with his performances in Games 4 and 5 and no other player coming close to Bryant statistically.